Maybe it's a generation thing but I just don't get fantasy football. At least not the way it's done now.
I actually participated in fantasy football when I was a boy. My brother, who was older, and bigger, pulled rank and pretended to be the quarterback, usually Johnny Unitas. I, who was younger, smaller and faster (I had deceptive speed. I was actually slower than I looked.), pretended to be Jimmy Orr, who grew up not far from where we lived.
My brother threw and I caught, often running up the score to embarrassing levels on the likes of Bart Star and the Green Bay Packers. That was our fantasy. It required effort, exercise and imagination. We never bet money on the outcome. No need. We always won.
Now the fantasy is accomplished with computers, in front of a screen, often in business attire during work hours. It's a big-time phenomenon. Sports networks even provide statistics on how certain players performed on Sunday so fantasy managers can evaluate their stars.
They have draft days to select their teams. They make trades. They spend hours and hours researching and analyzing players for pretend teams. Somebody has too little to do. Personally, I'd rather go fishing. Or read a book. Or write one.
It's not my intention to tell anyone how to spend his leisure hours. I'm just saying that it makes no sense to me.
What would be fun, however, would be a fantasy farmer team. Maybe I could pick half-a-dozen Southwest peanut farmers and take on a like number from Georgia. And I'd hand pick four or five of the best cotton farmers I've ever met from across this region and pit them against any cotton farmers across the belt. Well, maybe we'd have to exclude California. They have unfair advantages with yield. Perhaps we'd include a profitability clause to even the playing field.
We could have a dryland team and an irrigated team. Perhaps we'd have a crossover team with both dryland and irrigated producers to add a little uncertainty to the mix.
The thing I like about a farmer fantasy team is consistency. Football fates rise and fall on injuries, emotions and instant replay analyses. Farmers are stable, doing what works year in and year out, adopting new methods as they make sense but eschewing the flash and the fancy.
And I'll take a farmer's ego over a Prima Dona quarterback's any day. They don't get all that high on themselves, even when they make a bin buster. And you can count on them making curfew pretty much every night, unless, of course, the game goes into overtime and they have to ride the peanut combine or the cotton planter late into the evening to get ahead of a weather front.
They'll show up on time for spring training, too. In shape. Ready to play. Anxious to get started.
They don't hold out for more money and they don't demand contract extensions. When they have a bad year, they hang their heads, accept smaller paychecks and vow to do better next time.
Hey, I'm getting excited about the prospects. Let me check my computerized address books and start making my picks.
Let the games begin!